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Integrated Forest Vegetation Management: Options and Applications
Comeau, P.G.
Operational brushing programs in British Columbia have expanded rapidly over the past decade. In 1981 approximately 4000 ha were brushed in British Columbia. By 1989 this had increased to 60 000 ha. Current estimates suggest that between 25 and 30% of forest lands harvested in British Columbia will require vegetation management treatments. Treatments used involve the use of herbicides, the use of cutting and girdling tools, and, to a limited extent, the use of sheep browsing. In addition, site preparation treatments (prescribed burning, mechanical site preparation and herbicide treatments) were applied to more than 130 000 ha of crown forest land in British Columbia in 1992. Traditionally, vegetation management has been viewed in terms of specific treatments applied at one or two points in time. In many cases, foresters use their knowledge of autecology, competition, and responses in developing prescriptions that include strategies for avoiding problems through the use of appropriate site preparation treatments and the selection and timely application of appropriate treatments. Routine monitoring, at least as walkthrough surveys, is common in many areas. There is, however, a need to consider the effectiveness and impacts of a variety of treatments applied at several points during the "silvicultural cycle" that spans at least one - and perhaps even several - crop rotations. Integrated forest vegetation management is an organized and planned approach that utilizes all available techniques for managing forest vegetation. Integrated forest vegetation management (like Integrated Pest Management) involves the following five steps: 1) problem identification or diagnosis; 2) specifying injury and treatment thresholds; 3) monitoring and predicting vegetation development and young stand dynamics; 4) selecting treatment options; and, 5) evaluating treatment effectiveness and impacts. By practicing integrated forest vegetation management we can identify "leverage points" where treatments can be applied to maximum effect with minimum cost or impact. However, to successfully practice this integrated approach we need refined tools for problem identification and diagnosis, clearer identification of acceptable injury and treatment thresholds, tools for monitoring and for predicting vegetation development, better tools and information to assist with selection of treatment options, and much more information on the effectiveness and impacts of a broad range of treatment regimes. Information is required on effectiveness and impacts of combined (i.e., "integrated") vegetation management treatments that consider the effects of various combinations of preharvest, site preparation, brushing, and other treatments. We also need to improve our understanding of vegetation response to different levels of canopy removal, and the influence of cleaning, and of vegetation control at various times in the rotation, using various treatment options. This report contains summaries of papers and posters presented at a workshop held November 29 and 30, 1993, in Richmond, B.C. The purpose of the workshop was to provide field practitioners and researchers with current information about treatment options available for forest vegetation management, and to discuss the application of integrated pest management concepts to forest vegetation management.
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